Book Review: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

This post, a review of the last of Elena Ferrante’s novels about Naples, Italy, was first published on 16 January 2016. I read all four books in this series while I lived on the outskirts of Naples. Thanks to Ferrante I was shown inside the city, inside what links us all.

The Phraser

The last of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels The last of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels

This is a story about the dark places, and the fires, inside all of us.  It’s not new, it’s as old as Naples, but it’s told with the energy of possibility and through the eyes of women.

The Story of the Lost Child is the last book in a series of four – the Neapolitan novels.

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I’ve just read the Napoli section of Goethe’s ‘Italian Journey’

A look back (first published on 6 January 2016): Naples is not a ‘do-in-a-day-city’ – it’s a city with roots, a city that takes time, a city that feels like it might be time itself. Even Goethe lost his rhythm here.

The Phraser

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (portrait by Stieler 1828)

There are names I heard at school that are still buried beneath teacher dust. Names I’ve never looked at again – unreachable, academic names.  Goethe was one of them.

Then, a few weeks ago, I bumped into him on the internet and I read his notes on Naples.  They were a happy find.

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Book Review: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

A look back (first published 24 November 2015): this review is of the third of the four Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante. I read them all whilst in and around Naples, Italy.

The Phraser

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

This book, the third in the series, has an ache in it that grows as the story lengthens.  It is about the absence of love and belonging, and the complications of motherhood.

The themes belong to us all and Ferrante intensifies them against the backdrop of Naples. She paints her story with the city’s colours, chosen for their truth from a palette that other cities struggle to match.

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